“I think what Bob Mueller and his team are doing is extremely important for the country. There’s a cloud over the nation, and I think the only hope for resolving that is through the special counsel investigation. It’s quite important.”bloomberg.com 6.4.18
Former Director of National Intelligence
"Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong. No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law."washingtonpost.com 7.6.18
Former Senator (R-Tenn)
“I do not believe special counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt. I think it’s a professional investigation conducted by a man that I’ve known to be a straight shooter in all my interactions with him."thehill.com 7.18.18
Director of the FBI
Including lying to law enforcement; conspiring to defraud the United States; obstructing governmental operations, such as by attempting to change or prevent testimony by witnesses; failing to register as a foreign agent; and committing identity and financial fraud.
Facing charges by the special counsel investigation including Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.
Including five individuals who worked for Donald Trump: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, as well as Michael Cohen and Sam Patten. Cohen and Patten both pleaded guilty in investigations that stemmed in part from the special counsel probe.
As of right now, four people are soon to be, have been, or are in the process of being sent to prison as a result of the investigation. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted at trial of financial crimes while Richard Pinedo, Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan have been sentenced to prison.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is an experienced investigator who has served both Republican and Democratic administrations. His boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was appointed by Trump in 2017 but sidelined in November 2018 after Trump forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and installed a Trump loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, to assume authority over the investigation.Learn more
Trump’s former campaign chairman and former national security advisor are among the 35 individuals and entities that have been indicted in the investigation. Mueller is investigating whether Trump was involved in collusion or attempts at collusion during the campaign; whether, as president, he has attempted to obstruct justice; and his long history of business dealings with, and possibly debts from, Russia-connected entities.
On November 7, 2018, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed Matthew Whitaker to oversee Mueller’s inquiry. Trump’s ousting of Sessions comes amid reports that Donald Trump Jr. is increasingly worried that he may soon be indicted on charges of making false statements to Congress and the FBI.Learn more
The United States faces attempts at interference in its democratic processes, both from foreign political actors and from within the White House. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia attacked our democracy in 2016 to help President Trump’s campaign, and the Republican-led House and the Senate both conducted independent investigations that confirmed Russian interference.
However, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the attacks and any involvement with them by Trump has been repeatedly undermined by Trump, members of his administration, and their supporters since it began. Trump's appointment of a long-time Mueller investigation critic to oversee the probe has prompted calls for Whitaker to recuse himself from the the investigation.Learn more
Special counsel Mueller is an experienced former federal investigator and prosecutor. A longtime Republican, Mueller was chosen to be FBI Director under George W. Bush, and his term was extended by the Obama administration.
In his role as special counsel, Mueller has the authority to hire staff, request funding, issue subpoenas, and prosecute crimes related to election interference or coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russian actors. Mueller’s investigation has secured over 100 criminal charges as well as multiple guilty pleas and prison sentences. In comparison, the 14th and final Iran-Contra indictment came down more than 6 years after the appointment of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh and after President Ronald Reagan left office.
Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s boss, is also a Republican and was appointed by the Trump administration. In his role as Acting Attorney General, due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein manages the use of Department of Justice resources by Mueller and his team.
The infamous Trump Tower meeting, in which Trump campaign officials set up a meeting after learning Russian nationals had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, was attended by Trump’s own family members and senior level staffers, including Paul Manafort and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner. President Trump has issued conflicting statements about whether he was aware of the meeting. As head of his campaign and President of the United States, the notion that he had no idea about this meeting or other contacts and meetings with Russian nationals is highly suspect.
Trump’s firing of his FBI director and requests for loyalty have raised flags for investigators who are looking into whether the president has attempted to obstruct justice.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, admitted to making hush money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump. Cohen claims these payments were made in coordination with Trump to influence the election.
The New York Times, In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.
The use of election interference to achieve a preferred political outcome is neither new nor unique to Russia, but Russia’s use of the tool has become increasingly damaging and sophisticated, and experts think it’s going to get worse.
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators agrees with the unanimous stance of top intelligence officials that Russia is currently attempting to target 2018 congressional elections. At a hearing on worldwide threats, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned: “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence, to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States[.]” He concluded, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
Despite these warnings, the Trump administration has not only not provided necessary resources to prevent future interference, but has actually taken multiple steps that would likely make it harder to do so. Some of these actions by the president include pressuring former FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn and then later firing Comey; repeatedly castigating Robert Mueller and criticizing his investigation as a “witch hunt;” and reportedly attempting to fire both Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller. In perhaps the clearest attack yet, Trump has fired Jeff Sessions and appointed a staunch Trump supporter to lead the investigation. Matthew G. Whitaker, a failed candidate for U.S. Senate and Trump loyalist who has criticized the Mueller investigation, will now assume important powers over the investigation, including whether to subpoena the president, approve criminal charges, or limit the scope of the investigation.
In investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel charged 12 Russian nationals with crimes relating to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The indictment outlines the complex ways in which these Russian intelligence officers sought to influence the 2016 presidential election, including using social media to manipulate voters, encouraging political discord, and creating mistrust in institutions with the end goal of helping Trump’s presidential campaign.
The New York Times, 12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation